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Antidesma platyphyllum var. playphyllum | by D.Eickhoff
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Antidesma platyphyllum var. playphyllum


Phyllanthaceae (Phyllanthus family)

Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands (All the main islands except Niʻihau and Kahoʻolawe)

Kalauao Trail, Koʻolau Mts., Oʻahu


The wood is very hard, strong and durable. And being one of the heaviest native woods, it sinks in water.


Early Hawaiians, therefore, used for tools such as hut (hale) beams and frames, javelins or spears, and digging sticks (ʻōʻō).


Hawaiians used the red-brown wood for kapa (tapa) beaters that were used to beat out olonā (Touchardia latifolia) fiber.


The red fruit juice mixed with kamani oil (Calophyllum inophyllum) was used to make a bright red dye for kapa cloth, particularly for the malo (loincloth).


Medicinally, the leaves were chewed and swallowed for vomiting spells. The bark, mixed with other plants, was used as a wash for ulcers and scrofulous sores.



The generic name Antidesma is derived from the Greek anti, against, and desma, literally headband, but used by J. Burman, friend and correspondent of Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, to mean poison; the name was intended to refer to the use of a plant in the genus against snakebite.


The specific epithet platyphyllum is from the Greek platy, wide or flat, and phylla, leaf.


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Taken on June 8, 2009